So far, 2010 is looking like a great year for indie and alternative rock.
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In April, a new playlist, "State of Music Playlist Mix," featuring great indie songs most people have never heard, kicked off featuring songs about towns, cities, landmarks and places unique to the United States.
As an avid consumer and collector of mostly independent and alternative music, there is nearly an endless supply of great songs related specifically to geographic history and culture. Later this summer, the first geo-mix about places around the world will be featured, so keep an ear out for that.
Remember you can play and stream all of the songs uninterrupted on any page of this site by simply using the no-frills embedded Yahoo media player (the best such player on the web).
So, to the music. The first song in this mix is from the accomplished Providence, Rhode Island indie folk-rock band The Low Anthem. The song "To Ohio" is one of those songs that gets your attention and stays with you; and it's sort of about Ohio. In March, the band signed with Nonesuch Records, which will reissue a remastered version of their 2008 album Charlie Darwin, Oh My God. This song is the album's opening track.
"To Ohio" - The Low Anthem from Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
The Low Anthem Official Site
Brooklyn's Jeff Baron, Sasha Bell and Chris Ziter are the members of the indie folk and pop band The Essex Green, one of the best underrated bands in recent years. The band's song "Sin City" interestingly contains mentions of Pittsburg and Ohio, but most people know Sin City as Las Vegas, Nevada.
"Sin City" - Essex Green from Cannibal Sea (2006)
Essex Green Official Site
Philly's indie band The A-Sides got off to a good start when they formed in 2002 as Rough Trade picked up their first 7" for a widely-circulated compilation. The band got the mojo they needed to work with producer Brian McTear (Matt Pond PA, Mazarin) on The A-Sides first full length debut in 2005, Hello, Hello, an album widely hailed by critics and music fans for its eclectic pop arrangements and catchy, memorable songs.
The pick for this mix, "A Florida Grove", is featured on the band's 2007 follow-up release, Silver Storms. In October of last year, fans learned via the band's MySpace page that The A-Sides were disbanding to create a new band called Sun Airway.
"A Florida Grove" - The A-Sides from Silver Storms (2007)
The A-Sides Official Site
Since it was Sufjan Stevens that kind of motivated me to begin publishing a 'state of music' playlist mix (I have been organizing related mixes for years), it only makes sense to feature another one of his songs in the State of Music Playlist Mix series, this time around the Motor City inspirational song "Detroit, Lift Up Your Weary Head".
"Detroit, Lift Up Your Weary Head (Rebuild! Restore! Reconsider!)" - Sufjan Stevens from Greetings From Michigan
Sufjan Steves MySpace Page
Minneapolis indie rock band Tapes N Tapes formed in 2003 and found success early on with the release of their self-titled EP in 2004. Soon they were opening gigs for bands like the Streets, Metric, and the Futureheads.
While a number of songs on the band debut full-length The Loon could be consider for this playlist mix ("Manitoba" and "Omaha" to be specific) it is the catchy tempo, spiffy keyboards and dramatic shifts on the track "In Houston" which best encapsulates Tapes N Tapes sound.
"In Houston" - Tapes N Tapes in The Loon (2005)
Tapes N Tapes on MySpace
Check back for more playlists, including new mixes for State of Music playlist series. Next up: A special indie rock mix dedicated to New York City.
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